Marikana mineworkers are looking forward to the commemoration of the massacre in which they lost dozens of their colleagues seven years ago despite looming job cuts.
The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) will hold the gathering, which attracts thousands of miners, on Friday at the koppie and open field where police shot and killed 34 striking Lonmin employees on August 16, 2012.
In the days leading up to the massacre 10 police officers, security guards and striking and non-striking mineworkers were brutally murdered.
Lonmin, which was bought by Sibanye Gold in June, has effectively declared August 16 a public holiday.
Rock drill operator Mponeng Mofokeng told Independent Media on Thursday that he would wake up early to get ready to hear what Amcu leader Joseph Mathunjwa has to say about the industry facing huge job cuts.
“We are all worried hence we want to listen to what he has to say,” said Mofokeng.
In May, Lonmin said it would retrench 4 100 workers as part of its plans to lay off 12 600 of its staff over a three-year period announced in 2017.
The union is also scheduled to hold its national congress next month after being in trouble with the registrar of labour relations Lehlohonolo Molefe earlier this year for failing to hold its congress since 2013.
Unemployed former mineworker Mafika Nkomanda, who was retrenched in 2016, said his hopes of getting another job are dwindling with the number of shafts closing in the mines around Rustenburg.
Several politicians are expected to attend the ceremony and EFF leader Julius Malema, the party’s national chairperson Dali Mpofu, who has represented the mineworkers on a number of occasions, as well as UDM leader Bantu Holomisa have been warmly welcomed by Amcu members in previous commemorations.
The DA announced on Wednesday that its North West leader Joe McGluwa, national spokespersons Refiloe Nt’sekhe and Solly Malatsi will join the commemorations.